We know there are many changes with drug addiction that affect the central nervous system but what are the influences on the pathology of lipids with drugs, addiction, withdrawal, tolerance, and craving? A study was done in 36 male rats injected with either cocaine, morphine and amphetamine once a day for 5, 10, and 15 days to see if changes in lipidomic profiles were altered when drugs were introduced. For this experiment a technique for imaging of the brain called desorption electrospray was used to look at the changes between control and addicted brains and to allow for comparison of changes in lipid expression between control and drug treated brains. When the rats were introduced to these drugs, it showed changes in select lipid levels to the central nervous system indicating that lipids play a role in addiction development.
All showed distinct behavioral effects and morphine evoked symptoms of abstinence after withdrawal. According to IMS images obtained, changes observed took place mainly in the structures combined with limbic system (hippocampus, thalamus, hypothalamus, amygdala) which is known to involved in behaviors connected with drug addiction. Among all the lipids identified, phosphatidylserines and sulfatides were the most susceptible to quantitative changes after drugs administration. The most important observation was that lipids underwent changes under the influence of different drugs as phosphatidylserines and sulfatides were found to be affected by drug administration.
Although we know that drugs like cocaine, morphine, and amphetamine influence selected lipid levels in the central nervous system, I feel the study was inconclusive on how the observed effect is dependent in the brain structure and how it changes over time. The lack of consistency in the time course of drug administration as well as statistical imperfection of data processing can be observed. Sulfatides, as the main constituents of the myelin sheath, were not studied up to date in the context of drug addiction as well different molecules characteristic for the observed processes. Even though major changes are observed in the brain, do lipids really influence the activity of ion channels, receptors, and other signal-transduction proteins?
Although the experiment showed the differences in lipids amounts in the brain structures exposed to the drugs can be proved that a mechanism recruiting higher amounts of those lipids exists as a reaction towards drug presence in the CNS, but maybe the focus for further research is how cells are using lipids that have changed their concentrations under the influence of the drugs. A more in-depth investigation into biological pathways using biochemical analysis could help us to see the accurate and complete role of lipids in drug addiction.
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